Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Sweet Swap

One of the best things about the holidays is the opportunity to spend countless hours in the kitchen. As you can probably guess by my blog, you probably know I like to cook. Given, huh? The holidays provide an opportunity for this cooking/baking lover to wear her little feet out and consume lots of calories in the kitchen.

The thing about living in the South is that I'm not the only one who likes to cook. Most women like to! Its just...part of who we are as women. I know we get a bad wrap about the whole barefoot and pregnant thing, but the truth is, even us career ladies who work all day still enjoy coming home, throwing on a apron, and creating something wonderful in the kitchen.

Since so many of my girlfriends enjoy baking, I decided to host a sweet swap this year. It wasn't a passive event where folks just brought their favorite treat, but a hands-on night of baking and cookie decorating. And in the end, everyone got to take home a variety of treats. We had apricot cookies drizzled with chocolate, sugar cookies with icing, chocolate-peanut butter-cheeze its, and butterballs.

The two treats we made that night were spiced apple cookies and my childhood favorites, chocolate oatmeal cookies. One was a no-bake that you boil on the stove, and the other was a traditional cookie. I set up two stations on each side of the kitchen, and two people took the recipe and made the treats. And while the apple cookies were baking, we decorated about 1,000 sugar cookies and laughed and talked and enjoyed each other's company.

That's the thing about Southern women. We love to bake. We love to laugh. And we love to spend time together in each other's home. The sweet swap was a great night, and I look forward to many more nights in the kitchen with these gals!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
From Bell's Best II Cookbook

1/2 cup milk
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups quick oats


1. Melt butter on medium heat in medium stock pot. Mix in milk, sugar and cocoa.
2. Bring to a slow, rolling boil for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and oatmeal. Stir well.
3. Immediately spoon mixture onto wax paper. Move quickly before mixture sets.
4. Let cookies cool completely until set.

Spiced Apple Cookies
From The Naptime Chef

½ cup shortening
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup whole milk
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped walnuts
1 cup unpeeled apple, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat together shortening and brown sugar until full combined. Add egg and milk and mix ingredients well.
3. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as necessary, until everything is fully combined.
4. Stir chopped apple and walnuts into the batter with a wooden spoon.
5. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls about 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Press the tops of the cookie down with your top two fingers so they are slightly flattened.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies hold their shape and are slightly browned on the edges.

1 comment:

katherine said...

I had so much fun at at the Sweet Swap!